Well, I agree that having a bathroom scale in the kitchen would be pretty depressing because if I stepped on the scale before I cooked, I’d never want to use any butter. But having a kitchen scale for weighing ingredients is a whole different matter.
I’m not an expert at using the kitchen scale. In fact, there was a point in time when I never even thought to have one, and if someone gave me one I would have probably shoved it in a cabinet or in the basement and considered it yet another object for which I did not have enough storage space.
But as those of us who have been cooking for years have figured out, there’s definitely good reason to sometimes have an accurate weight of your ingredients. A lot of chefs cook largely by weight, not measurement. Case in point: I have a recipe for espagnole sauce that was given to me by a chef. And instead of cup measurements, it uses weight. But it also makes a gallon of sauce, so I really needed to halve everything. As a result, instead of a pound of mirepoix, I needed to chop about enough carrots, onions and celery for a half-pound.
Enter this kitchen scale, which was a birthday gift from some friends. It is a digital scale as opposed to a balance or a mechanical scale. All three have their place in the kitchen, but digital scales were rated highest by the Cooking for Engineers website, and I trust them on an issue like this. The only problem with small, flat digital scales like this is you sometimes have to weigh the bowl or container you’re using, then subtract that from the total weight to figure out how much your ingredients weigh.
For this same sauce recipe, I had to make a roux. I’ve been taught it’s better to use equal weights butter and flour in a roux than to go with, say, 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of flour. The latter method can work, but using weight is a more accurate method. Consider that if you pack flour into a 1/2 cup measuring cup, it could weigh one amount, but after you sift that flour into a pile it weighs something different. No wonder baking has to be so precise!
So far, I have only uncovered the basics when it comes to using kitchen scales. But here is a great article about kitchen scales for the nerds in the group.
Do you use a kitchen scale? If so, what for? Any hints or tips you’ve figured out?